Habit 5 – Being Connected
I once saw a cartoon (I am sorry I cannot locate it) of an office building. Everyone was extremely busy inside the building – lots of internal communication – but there was not a single communication with the world beyond the building.
From time to time I accidentally fall over a lovely website (with huge effort and thought gone into its production), but there is no connection with anything else on the web, no facebook connection, no links out, no effort to dialogue on other sites which would bring new visitors in. I saw one last week where the owner was happy with the two to three visitors he said he got daily (who knows if he was counting his own couple of visits to check each day?!)
I have visited church buildings where there is no indication whatsoever when the community meets there. I have stayed in hotels and motels and camping grounds where it is nigh on impossible to find out when and where church meets. We all know stories of church communities that don’t open their front door on Sunday – everyone who goes there knows that you get in by the back door. We all know stories of church communities that don’t meet at the time indicated – everyone who goes there knows that the time changed years ago (or is always an hour earlier than on the notice board in a month with the letter “r” in it).
- Check your church notice board. Read it as if you know nothing about church (what does all this code mean that clutters the board: 1662, 1928, NZPB, HC, …?) From how far away can you read it? Can it be read while driving past? I see many church plants where the signs of clubs who use the hall facility is far better than the church’s own sign!
- Check your church website. Is it up to date? Read it as if you know nothing about church. I see church websites that do not provide location, service times, contact people. If your site cannot be changed in a minute or two, abandon the complex system that you have designed and use WordPress – you can download that and use it with your current URL. Check, if you have an email address, that this is checked and responded to regularly (at least every week). I have emailed parish and diocesan sites without so much as an acknowledgement, let alone a reply.
- Check your church facebook page. Is it interesting? Add humour. Add YouTube clips from your church activities. Are you engaging in social media?
- Are you contributing articles to your local newspaper? Our regional newspaper, The Press, has a twice-yearly liftout on marriage and weddings – when was the last time church contributed to that, either with an article or a paid advertisement?
- Get a stall at a spirituality festival. Get a stall at a careers expo.
- Check where you can drop pamphlets or put up posters about your church: in a mall, shops, libraries…
- Make sure all the motels, hotels, hostels, camping grounds in your area have attractive, up-to-date information about your church. Work together with other churches, denominations, and other religions to produce information to be available for visitors, temporary workers, etc. in your region. Have a joint attractive website that provides basic information and points to your own inviting website.
- Produce an interesting pamphlet and have members of your community do a mail drop to every dwelling in your area.
- Produce YouTube video that introduces your community. Have a short advertisement running on YouTube that shows in your area. Run a television advertising campaign, joining together with other communities to make this affordable.
What ideas can you add…